N. W Jellyman (1895-1917)


In May of 1916, Norman Jellyman enlisted in overseas service reportedly in Wellington as he wanted to do his part in the conflicts which were painted across every newspaper coming out from England.

Norm's father had passed away in 1904, leaving behind nine children who all helped their mother Elizabeth around their homestead at Rapaura which was where the tennis courts are now in place. Norm had his own farm by this time at Spring Creek which would've supplied his family with income. Norm may have experienced difficulty with his farm because of the fact that he enlisted. Farmers were encouraged to keep farming to help with the war efforts.

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Norman William Jellyman in uniform. Photo supplied by author

His family had been in New Zealand since the 1840's. Norman's grandfather was Richard Ching who came out with the survey ship to choose a location for the planned colony of Nelson. Four of Richard's eighteen children had married into the Jellyman family of Poormans Valley: Thomas (1867-1948) married Agnes Jellyman (1864-1938), Henry (1852-1929) married Elizabeth Jellyman (1858-1924) and John Harris (1844-1870) married Emma Jellyman (1843-1921).

Norman became a Lance Corporal under the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps, 3rd Company and served in Europe at Messines Ridge, West Flanders & Belgium. The machine guns used were most likely Vickers and Lewis guns. The Lewis gun could be fired by one man, however, a Vickers gun required two men as to feed the magazine into the gun which is likely to be the gun used by Norm.

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Norman Jellyman and family. Photo supplied by author

The allied forces had been digging trenches under their enemies and had been carefully placing mines in preparation of an attack which would later be called "The Battle Of Messines Ridge". At 3:10pm the mines went off, taking the enemy by surprise. A barrage of machine gun fire went off from the allied side and over the top of the trenches came clambering soldiers.

By the 14th of June, 1917, 4,978 men from the ANZAC Diversion had died and thousands more from the other divisions. At home families read newspapers with the casualty lists. Soon the family found his name in the newspaper. It read as follows. "Lance-Corp. Norman Jellyman, third son of Mrs William Jellyman, was killed in action in France on June 8th, he left with the 13th Reinforcements".


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